Canada too much for Belarus
Canada too much for Belarus
Brassard nets game winner
Canada remained undefeated at the 2016 IIHF World Championships with a 8-0 win over Belarus. Derick Brassard's first period goal stood up throughout as the game winner.
Cam Talbot was strong in this his second start of the tournament. The Edmonton Oielrs netminder made 13 saves for his second win of the tournament and first shutout.
Canada has now beaten Belarus in all nine games they have faced each other in World Championship play going back to 1998 and have shut them out in consecutive games in as many years.
Last year as the Canadian juggernaut rolled through all ten teams they faced en route to gold, they defeated Belarus 9-0 in the quarterfinals.
"There’s a lot of offense, there’s a lot of skill, there’s a lot of youth." Canada captain Corey Perry said. "I’ve said this since Day One: we’re excited to be here, put this jersey on, and play for our country."
Both teams traded chances over the first twenty minutes. Canada created opportunities through a pileup of bodies in front of the Belarus net with Connor McDavid getting a few pokes at the puck but not able to convert. Alexei Kalyuzhny sent a slapshot that was stopped by Talbot’s pad.
With 3:43 left in the first period, Canada struck. Brassard knocked in a Perry pass. Brassard’s quick release left Kevin Lalande almost helpless to stop the shot.
Brassard’s second of the tournament came on the power play with defenseman Kristian Khenkel in the box for holding an opponent. Later in the period, Brassard almost had another but his shot hit the crossbar.
In the second Canada scored four goals in two flurries. Their first two goals in the period came almost three minutes apart and their final two exactly twenty seconds apart.
Perry scored at 1:03 of the second period. Ryan Murray deftly stripped the puck from Belarus forward Andrei Stas and sent an outlet pass up the ice to Perry who took it in and scored.
With Brendan Gallagher sitting in the penalty box for slashing, Belarus tried to gain the Canadian zone but could not keep the puck in. Brody Jenner then led a two-on-one Jenner with Ryan O’Reilly. Jenner’s pass hit O’Reilly’s skate in stride and went in the net. The play was reviewed and ruled a goal. O’Reilly did not kick the puck into the net.
Matt Duchene and Taylor Hall scored twenty seconds apart to make it 5-0. Hall’s goal was set up by McDavid who cycled the puck, drew three defenders before sending a nifty pass to Hall to shoot into a wide open net. Hall’s goal chased Lalande from the game and he was replaced with Dmitri Milchakov.
"It’s the way they carry themselves in the offensive zone that, for me, is the most impressive, the way they hold on to the puck and find the little openings to make plays." Belarus skater Charles Linglet said. "It always seems like the puck lands on their sticks no matter what they try."
Early in the game, Belarus was much more disciplined than they were in their previous game but once Canada opened things up in the second they became undisciplined again taking three minors. Duchene's score came on the power play. Of course, Brad Marchand helped, spending most of the game trying his level best to get under their collective skin.
O'Reilly added his second of the game in the third and Mark Stone and Michael Matheson finished the scoring for an 8-0 lead. Mark Scheifele had two assists in the period.
Canada is clicking now and line combinations are solidifying. They are still working things out, as are most teams, but the thought of Canada getting much better than this is a scary proposition for opponents the rest of the way through this tournament.
"It’s two different teams." O'Reilly said compaying this Team Canada to last year. "There are a few of us here who were here last year. Last year we were a more mature, older team. This year, I think we’re a little younger. We have to use our speed and be relentless with our possession of the puck."
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